Bob McKenzie of TSN announced on Twitter that the Anaheim Ducks and Vegas Golden Knights are believed to have a side-deal worked out already in regards to the expansion draft. This comes on the heels of rumblings that the team did not ask Kevin Bieksa to waive his no-trade clause, something that would either point directly to a deal with Vegas or a buyout of the veteran defender.
Anaheim has been the target of much speculation all season about how they would possibly protect all of their prized defenders, and while many were expecting them to sell off Sami Vatanen or Josh Manson for pennies on the dollar, this other option always remained. Ducks’ GM Bob Murray has always had the chance to make a deal with Vegas, and has seemed calm when talking about the expansion draft for months.
This doesn’t mean that Vatanen isn’t headed out of town, quite the opposite. He could be the player heading to Vegas in the deal, possibly with a bad contract headed with him. The Ducks could use the cap space currently occupied by Clayton Stoner, and if Murray is willing to sweeten the deal with another asset Vegas could be a landing spot for both defenders. Pierre LeBrun of TSN makes it clear that the team is simply not willing to lose Josh Manson in the draft for nothing, something that would surely happen if the protection lists were submitted right now with no deals.
The exact specifics of any Anaheim-Vegas trade likely won’t be clear until after the selections are revealed on the 21st, but it’s clear that the expansion club has already generated some assets just from being willing to deal. Already there were reports that Chicago will give up Trevor van Riemsdyk if Vegas is willing to take Marcus Kruger, while Columbus might give up a hefty package to see David Clarkson’s name on someone else’s ledger.